The Top 5 Legal Protections You Need To Know About As A Worker

Continuing in our exploration of employment law and worker’s rights, we’re going to take some time exploring the rights that every employee has – but hardly ever knows about.

Knowledge is king.

#1 Whistleblower Protections

Doing the right thing is difficult, so various forms of legal protections have been enacted to ensure that employees who report on employers for indulging in unethical or illegal practices enjoy a certain amount of protection under the law.  There are variances in different states, so read up, and make sure you know when to know.

#2  Employment Based Discrimination

This one feels like more people should know how wide-ranging and sweeping some of these legal protections American workers enjoy. For example, on a Federal basis, it is illegal to discriminate against an employer based on ​​“race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.”

The supreme court has further ruled that employers may not discriminate against an employer for being same-sex or transgender, and these rights fall under the umbrella term of “sexual orientation.”

#3 Health and Safety At Work

Every employee needs a safe working environment. However, strict laws determine the minimum standards of health and safety based on the level of employment and the type of employment a worker is engaging in.  If you’ve been hurt or injured at work, you should consult a workers compensation attorney for assistance, especially if your employer is not interested.

#4 Minimum Wage

It is rather worrying that many American workers don’t know what the national minimum wage is.  As of August 3rd, 2021 is $7.25 for non-exempt employees.  This means that a 40-hour working week, you cannot be paid less than $1,256 per month. This excludes overtime and other benefits that may apply to your individual situation.  You have the right to speak out and be protected from retaliatory action if your employer is not playing fair.

#5  Family Leave

It is true – for the “Land of the Free,” we don’t nearly have as many legal protections for our workers as what European countries do – and while there is a push to change this, it’s not happening fast.  But that doesn’t mean that workers have zero “family leave” rights in the United States. (Even though we lag, far….far behind 40 other countries).

You are entitled to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year for maternity, adoption, illness, or family illness reasons.  

There are many instances where American workers don’t enjoy as many generous rights as our European cousins do, but that doesn’t mean the worst of the worst (unless you consider that “family leave” category). American workers still enjoy some of the widest range of legal protections to ensure their rights in the workplace.  But none of that is of any benefit to you – if you don’t know about it and know how to access these rights when you need to.

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Todd Smekens

Journalist, consultant, publisher, and servant-leader with a passion for truth-seeking. Enjoy motorcycling, meditation, and spending quality time with my daughter and rescue hound. Spiritually-centered first and foremost. Lived in multiple states within the USA and frequent traveler to the mountains.
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